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Documentation and Notices,Services and Costs incurred in Port - guideline for ships officer

When a vessel is on Time Charter, bunkers and the majority of port services and costs, etc., are to the account of Time Charterers. However, should Time Charterers default on payment, then these charges may fall on Owners and there will then be a serious risk of the vessel being arrested for debts incurred by the Time Charterer.

It is therefore important that when the Master or Chief Engineer sign for items supplied by the Charterer, they do so adding – for and on behalf of “………………………………..” Time Charterer. The use of a rubber stamp may assist in these cases, to endorse receipts or other papers submitted for signatory by suppliers of fuel, stevedoring and other necessaries or services which are not, under the governing charter, ordered for the account of the Owners.

It is also essential that no other ship’s officer signs any of these documents. The text of this rubber stamp is to be as follows:

The goods and/or services being hereby acknowledged, receipted for, and/or ordered are being accepted and/or ordered solely for the account of charterers of the/….ship’s name…./ and not for the account of said vessel or her owners. Accordingly, no lien or other claim against sail vessel or her owners can arise therefore, ….owners name…owners of the vessel…ship’s name….

The requisite rubber stamp is to be ordered via the relevant management office.

General cargo and other documents issued by the Ship

The Master, Chief Engineer, Chief Officer and any other person authorised to sign documents must carefully study each document before signing it. Agents are appointed to assist and advise, but they do not relieve the Master of his responsibility for safeguarding the Owner’s business interests. Facsimile signature stamps must not be used for the purpose of signing important documents, such as Bills of Lading, Receipts for Stores, Log Books, Cash Advances and Accounts for services rendered. However, copies may be endorsed by means of a name stamp in block letters prefixed by the word “signed”, so that there is no doubt that the documents are copies only. Facsimile signature stamps are not to be used or carried on board.

Cargo and other documents received by the Ship

As a general rule, all cargo documents produced by third parties (such as cargo surveyors, suppliers, receivers, etc) should be signed “For Receipt Only”. The exceptions to this are the official shipping documents, such as Bill of Lading, Certificates of Quantity and Quality and such like. The Statement of Facts should also reflect what it is called (i.e. facts) and so should be signed as such after close scrutiny.

Voyage Documents

Due to the fact that the vessels are employed on a regular line, calling many ports during each round voyage, it is recommended that all cargo operations documents and cargo documents relating to each port are placed in a separate file (envelope) clearly marked with the port name, voyage No. and the dates of arrival and departure. Cargo Documents include the Bay Plan, the Reefer Container List, Dangerous Cargo Manifest, Mates Receipts, SOF, Bills of Lading, Cargo Manifests, Reefer Temperature Records. Upon completion of each round voyage all above noted files (envelopes) for all ports are to be collected, clearly marked with the Voyage No., time period, and properly stored for future reference.

Notice of Readiness

It is essential that the Notice of Readiness is tendered to the Charterer, Terminal and/or his agent immediately in writing on arrival at a port. If the vessel proceeds to an anchorage first, the Notice must be tendered by email or telex, and should be followed by an official Notice in letter form at the first opportunity (which will normally be when the vessel berths alongside). If the vessel proceeds directly to the berth, the Notice is to be handed in letter to the agent on arrival.

If the vessel arrives at a port, and first has to undergo a tank or hold inspection, nevertheless the Notice must still be tendered immediately. When the Notice is presented in letter form the Terminal and/or Agent should be asked to countersign the Notice. A copy of the NOR in letter form is to be sent to the company. It is important to note that NOR can and should be tendered repeatedly if there is any doubt about the validity of the previous NOR. In such cases the new NOR should be endorsed with the following; “without prejudice to the validity of all other NOR’s previously tendered under this c/p”. For some more detailed information on where, when and how to tender NOR see Attached Documents. Always seek advice from your commercial operator if unsure.

Note of Protest or Letter of Protest

In any of the circumstances detailed below it is advisable for the Master to note protest:
  1. During the voyage if the ship encounters conditions of wind and sea which may result in damage to cargo.
  2. If the ship is damaged from any cause, or if there is reason to fear that damage may be sustained.
  3. If due to weather conditions it has not been practicable to adopt normal precautions in the matter of ventilation of perishable cargo.
  4. When cargo is shipped in such a condition that it is likely to suffer deterioration during the voyage. On dry cargo vessels, however, the protest will not be effective unless the bills of lading were endorsed to show the true condition of the cargo at the time of shipment. On tanker vessels, the commercial practice always is to issue note of protest, as often the Master does not sign the Bills of Lading (B/L).
  5. When any serious breach of C/P terms is committed by the Charterer or his agent, such as refusal to load, undue delays in loading, loading improper cargo, etc.
  6. When there is a ship/shore difference in cargo figures of at least 0.5%, or as set by the commercial operator or Charterer. If in any doubt the Master is to contact the commercial operator for advice.
  7. To record restrictions or delays imposed on the vessel for “shore reasons”.
  8. In all cases of general average.
A note of protest is simply a declaration by the Master of circumstances beyond his control which may give rise to loss or damage. Protests are to be made as soon as possible and certainly within 24 hours of arrival in port and, in the case of cargo protests, before breaking bulk, or on completion of cargo operations (especially for tanker vessels). They are to be made before a Notary Public wherever possible (although, in the case of tanker vessels notes of protest before sailing from load or discharge ports, this will probably be impossible). A note of protest is to be countersigned by the addressee.

Delivery and Redelivery surveys and certificates

Under a Time charter it is important for the Master to make out a Certificate of Delivery at on-hire, and Certificate of Redelivery at off-hire, showing time and place, bunker ROB’s and any other relevant information. The Charterers representative or Agent should countersign such certificates. These certificates are usually produced following an on or off hire survey conducted by an independent surveyor. The charterparty will normally provide for on-hire and off-hire surveys. Surveyors may be appointed by either Owners or Charterers and carried out in either party’s time (check c/p provisions for this). The surveys will generally include the measurement and calculations of all fuel onboard at time of delivery or redelivery. The time of delivery and redelivery should be clearly stated.

In addition, a general survey of the vessel may be conducted in order to establish the condition of the ship. Any damage or significant deterioration to the ship during the Charter may be for the Charterer’s account. Hold surveys on dry cargo vessels should normally be part of the on/off-hire survey and it is particularly important during on-hire surveys that all/any damages are fully noted by the attending surveyor. For this reason, the surveyor should be accompanied by a responsible officer. When no Independent Surveyor is appointed, the Master or Chief Engineer may represent the Owners, after consulting the commercial operator. It is essential that all damages during the Charter are listed in the Off-Hire Survey Report.

Our additional pages contain somewhat larger lists of resources where you can find useful informations

  1. Dry Cargo Charterparties

  2. There are numerous various forms, but to give a taste of dry cargo time charters, two types that are commonly used are: - New York Produce Exchange (NYPE 93) Baltic and International Marine Council (BALTIME 1939 (amended 2001)....

  3. Tanker Time Charters

  4. Specific information such as, parties to the contract, where and when the vessel will be delivered, rates of hire, general permitted cargoes, general trading range etc. ....

  5. Documentation & notices

  6. When a vessel is on Time Charter, bunkers and the majority of port services and costs, etc., are to the account of Time Charterers. However, should Time Charterers default on payment, then these charges may fall on Owners and there will then be a serious risk of the vessel being arrested for debts incurred by the Time Charterer. ....

  7. Function of bill of lading

  8. The Bill of Lading is one of the most important documents that the Master will sign and therefore strict controls on how it is issued are required. Although the B/L is usually drafted by the Shipper and presented to the Master for signature, it is an Owners document. One of its three functions is to act as a receipt for the cargo, so therefore the Master must make sure that the quantity and description of the goods is accurate as he will be expected to deliver the same to the Receiver.....

  9. Seaworthiness for cargo ship, international navigational condition & procedure for Insurance claim

  10. Insurance premiums amount to a very large proportion of the ship’s running costs. Whilst the owner insures his ship against certain risks and may present a claim which will recuperate at least part of his losses, the effect of submitting many claims will have the effect of increasing the insurance premiums for the next year. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to ensure that risks are not taken, that the ship operates safely and that accidents and incidents are avoided....

  11. Masters obligation to follow charterers routeing advise - The Hill Harmony case

  12. The Hill Harmony case involved a vessel on time charter trading trans-Pacific. The Charterers had engaged a weather routing service and the Master was advised to take the shortest northern great circle route, however he deemed it safer to take a more southerly rumb line route. The Charterers were eventually able to prove that the great circle route had been suitable for safe navigation and that the extra steaming time was for the Owners account....

Other info pages !

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Questions from user and feedback Read our knowledgebase
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